The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were the first members of the Windsor family to address the coronavirus pandemic in any way. They released a statement on their Instagram page. Kensington Palace soon followed (within hours). A day later, the Queen finally issued a statement which I found very… passive, and almost cold. A leopard doesn’t change his spots and all that, and I wasn’t expecting the Queen to come out with some touchy-feely remarks, but there was definitely an odd, distant tone to her statement. Personally, I think that’s why Richard Kay wrote that awful piece about how Harry & Meghan suck because they’re in Canada – the bulk of Kay’s piece had this sugary tone about how the Queen was unquestionably the greatest and most fearless leader ever. And it struck me that there was probably an “oh sh-t, we’re mishandling this” moment at Buckingham Palace, thus they got Kay to do some “work.”
Anyway, I bring all of this up because I’m still wondering if the Queen’s ancient, bitchy, petty courtiers are still feeling a bit like “oh sh-t, we mishandled this.” Hint: they did. So they will attempt a do-over via a televised national address from the Queen:
The Queen is planning to make a royal address to the United Kingdom about the coronavirus pandemic. As The Telegraph reports, Elizabeth II will speak to the nation in a televised speech that will take place “in the coming weeks” as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in London, where the virus has so far infected 1,580 people and resulted in 69 deaths.
This will mark only the fourth time the monarch has given such a speech, following similar speeches in 2002 (to discuss the death of the Queen Mother), in 1997 to address the death of Princess Diana, and in 1991 to speak about the Gulf War. According to The Telegraph, news of the Queen’s upcoming address comes after she and Prince Philip left London for Windsor Castle a week ahead of schedule, which was deemed a “sensible precaution” given the severity of the outbreak in the British capital.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla have gone to Scotland, and are expected to stay at Birkhall, his home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate “for the foreseeable future.” The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with children George, Charlotte and Louis, will be spending the next few weeks at Anmer Hal in Norfolk, but could return to London after the Easter holiday.
In response to a question about the Queen’s upcoming address, a palace source told The Telegraph: “It is a question of when, not if. The value of an address by the Queen is that it is so rare — it’s a case of when is the optimum time to do it. The Queen wants to get it right.” According to the source, the Queen understands the nation wants to hear from her as “head of the nation” during this time of crisis, and Buckingham Palace is currently discussing timing of the address with the British government.
The source adds the Queen is “learning to use FaceTime and Skype” in order “to receive government briefings and updates from medical experts on her iPad,” and she’ll be using her new tech savvy “to make her debut in video conferences with members of the emergency services, volunteers and charities working on the front line of the pandemic. Nothing will be ruled out to ensure Her Majesty is able to keep in touch and offer thanks and reassurance to everyone she needs to.”
On Saturday night, reports emerged that a royal aide at Buckingham Palace had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh left for Windsor.
The Queen using Skype and FaceTime to communicate with the government and medical experts… well, that’s interesting. I can’t help but wonder if sometimes people are trying to reinvent the wheel? Simple phone conversations are fine for so many things. If it’s a big document that you need to put in front of the Queen, try email, for the love of God.
As for the speech… yeah. The palace – and the government, to be fair – gets that they should have put the Queen out there sooner. By issuing a statement six days (??) after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, the Queen looked out of touch and like she was getting sh-tty advice YET AGAIN. And again, people genuinely want to see or hear from the Queen, their unifying head of state. Oh well, the peasants will have to wait.
(Also: Charles and Camilla are quarantined in Scotland? THAT is interesting.)
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.